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News | Dec. 20, 2010

New tankers and training increase mobility capabilities

By Staff Sgt. Kimberly Moore ARFOR Public Affairs

Personnel from the Joint Task Force-Bravo Petroleum, Oil and Lubricant shop here are now trained to operate updated equipment with new capabilities after successfully completing the Operators New Equipment Training class Dec. 13-14.

The training is necessary to familiarize personnel on capabilities and function of new updates installed on the Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck-M978 A3s here, as mandated by U. S. Army Tank and Automotive Command.

The U.S. Army TACOM is one of the Army's largest weapon systems research, development, and sustainment organizations. Their mission is to develop, acquire, field, and sustain soldier and ground systems for the warfighter through the integration of effective and timely acquisition, logistics, and cutting-edge technology.

Army Staff Sgt. Edward Sistrunk, Sub-area Petroleum Office non-commissioned officer, attended the class and raved on its benefits.

"The truck today, after all the updates, is almost a completely different truck than it was when I (enlisted in the Army) in 1998," Sergeant Sistrunk, from Fort Lee, Virginia, said. "A lot has changed, but the instructors made (the instruction) very hands-on and relateable. After we finished instruction we went outside and reviewed everything, top to bottom... they went over everything."

Jim Barrett, Honeywell Heavy Tactical Vehicle instructor, said some noteworthy changes being implemented throughout the Army fleet are a brand new engine and many comfort-focused improvements. Mr. Barrett also said the new EPA-compliant diesel engine now meets emission requirements and is much more environmentally friendly while the comfort of ride is way better.

Sergeant Sistrunk agreed. "You can tell they did research on what would be best for the soldier and implemented new safety equipment that's easier to maintain," he said.

According to personnel at POL, not only were rides prior to the upgrades uncomfortable, but their reliability was also deteriorating. The group can now comfortably and safely travel wherever they're needed in nine new-and-improved vehicles.

"Now we can drive the HEMTT to airfields as well as hard-to-get-to places like in the mountains and hills where we conduct training" Sistrunk said.

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